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I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, and not trying to jump on you, but no, 2x 24gauge is not "about" 12 gauge. Not even close. To say it is is dangerous.

It's almost like saying I can haul about 3 ton of rock in the back of a Yugo.

I am going 30 inches from the controller to the RGB strip with 12 volts. Not 30 feet.

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And I also forgot to mention that this 30 inch extension is running a 2.5 meter, 30 LED/meter RGB Strip

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And I also forgot to mention ...

You have to admit that your original terse comment could only be interpreted as applying to all. Even though you were applying it to a low current application, think of a newbie reading this and applying it to high current. This could result in a potential fire for someone.

Whatever you write on this site is read everywhere in the world by people that are knowledgeable in electricity and a lot that aren’t.

In another thread, the question was asked whether the editing time should be extended from 5 minutes. I suggested eliminating the time limit altogether. This is one such situation where you could go back to your original post and add an edit at the bottom, not remove the original words but to add a continuation explanation with corrected information.

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You have to admit that your original terse comment could only be interpreted as applying to all. Even though you were applying it to a low current application, think of a newbie reading this and applying it to high current. This could result in a potential fire for someone.

Whatever you write on this site is read everywhere in the world by people that are knowledgeable in electricity and a lot that aren’t.

In another thread, the question was asked whether the editing time should be extended from 5 minutes. I suggested eliminating the time limit altogether. This is one such situation where you could go back to your original post and add an edit at the bottom, not remove the original words but to add a continuation explanation with corrected information.

I agree I should have mentioned exactly what I was doing, but it's funny how someone before mentioned that people are using cat5 and nothing was said about that. I checked with people that have a lot more experience in this and they all said if you are not making a long run you will be OK. One said that he has used it for a much longer run and had to inject power into it to make up for the power drop.

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bdeditch,

At this moment in time, we are not concerned with the length of the wire. Its your statement that two conductors in a Cat 5 cable is anywhere near the same as 1 12ga wire. What we are trying to point out to you is that it might carry 5 amps, but no way in heck will it carrry 20 amps. Your statement is wildly misleading and dangerous to those who do not know anything about electricity. Also you have been asked to go back and remedy the issue by editing your earlier post.

As for what the others were saying is that due to the resistance of the wire and the voltage drop. That some have either gotten larger gaged wire. Or doubled up the wires such as each signal path is a twisted pair in the Cat 5 cable. Or some have ran from the controller two or more cables. Each cable going to a strip.

Just do the right thing and make a correction to your post about a mistake about 2 24ga wires is about 1 12ga wire, thats the issue.

Thanks

Edited by Max-Paul

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My God I am sorry I take it back I made a mistake.

I can't correct the original post.

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In another thread, the question was asked whether the editing time should be extended from 5 minutes. I suggested eliminating the time limit altogether. This is one such situation where you could go back to your original post and add an edit at the bottom, not remove the original words but to add a continuation explanation with corrected information.

This is what I was talking about. Where you’ve made an innocent mistake that could have a major impact on someone else.

You can double, (triple, quadruple, etc.) wires to increase the current capability. You can inject additional power at different places on a wire to overcome resistance. You have to be careful that your connections are good though, otherwise you run the risk of overloading if the wires disconnect.

I wouldn’t recommend that you do any of this at higher than 50 volts though, especially if you’re new at this.

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OK I am admitting I made a mistake, I should have looked into this further before positing. I just didn't think it was such a big deal when I was using the Cat 5E for a 30 inch length. I agree the security cable is the best way to go on long lengths.

But what is the difference between the security cable & Sprinkler cable besides price. I would think the sprinkler cable would be more weather resistant that the security cable.

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The sprinkler cable I usually see is solid core. The security cable I use is stranded. Much more flexible and less prone to breakage when moving around, coiling, etc...

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I only skimmed this post, but I would like to add one of my pet peeves which is the confusion between voltage, amperage and wattage. Far too many times have I seen people (not those in this post) say things like "It's only 12v, so CAT 5 will handle it". That is incorrect and the person who says that is not considering the WHOLE story.

Just because it's 12 or even 5V doesn't mean CAT 5 is going to work. WATTAGE (power consumption) is what drives the size wire you need. You can just as quickly start a fire putting 10A through wire that can only handle 1A @ 12V as you can putting 10A through wire that can only handle 1A @ 120V.

Now you may be thinking "Well, as long as I use very SMALL loads you are saying I can run 120V thru CAT-5. The knife cuts both ways, right?" CAT 5 is a good choice for low voltage stuff because the insulation is rated to handle the low voltage. HOWEVER it can not handle HIGH voltage. Sure, a wire rated 1A @ 12V will be able to do .1A @ 120V. Copper is copper and has no problem sending that .1A @ 120V, but the insulation won't protect you OR the other wires in the bundle. Soon things arc and poof - fire (or worse, you die).

When considering what kind of wire to use, you must look at both AMPERAGE and VOLTAGE since both play a part. P=IV - it's the law! :P (or, more commonly Watts=Amperage x Voltage)

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Very well said Mike. We are bound by Ohms Law and people need to understand the basic fundamentals of electricity when playing around in this hobby.

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It funny I had to make a trip to Home Depot and looking at both the Security 18/4 and sprinkler wire 18/4 and they were both solid core.

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I suggest you check out an online voltage drop calculator at http://calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html?material=copper&wiresize=52.96&voltage=24&phase=dc&noofconductor=1&distance=100&distanceunit=feet&amperes=3&x=96&y=20

Plan on using 4 amps for a 5M LED strip (that's with everything on full). Technically, it's about 3.2 amps, but round up to avoid problems. You'll find that the longer the run, the more the voltage drop and also the smaller the gage, the more the voltage drop.

If you have a planned length, enter it and see what works for you. I have found that the LED strips will work down to 10 volts reliably.

I have used the 18/4 stranded shielded security cable at Home Depot for both DMX and power.

For short runs, the voltage drop is OK, but for longer runs, I send 24 volts DC down the wire and have a 24v-12v converter module that sits right next to the DMX controller. As long as the converter sees at least 15 volts, it works great and gives me exactly 12 volts for the LED strip, no matter what the load.

I know it's a bit cumbersome, but every strip is bright, shiny and reliable.

On the online converter, check out the "area" of the wire; combining two 24 gage wires gives you a 21 gage equivalent that you could use in your calculations.

It's the cross-sectional area that matters when you combine wires.

24-12v converter: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-Buck-Converter-24V-to-12V-5A-60W-Step-Down-Module-Car-Power-Supply-Voltage-/280911109265?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41679b5c91

Home Depot 18/4 shielded security wire: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202316270/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=security+cable&storeId=10051

Good luck with your project.

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Again, we need to know the WHOLE story:

1 - How many VOLTS are you supplying through each HOT?

2 - How many AMPS are you consuming through each HOT?

3 - How are you WIRING things with it? 2 pairs? 3 hot + common?

4 - What is the VOLTAGE RATING of the insulation on each wire?

5 - What is the VOLTAGE RATING of the outer insulation?

6 - What is the MAX AMPERAGE rating of 18AWG @ the voltage you are using?

7 - What is the MAX AMPERAGE rating of the entire cable?

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It's almost like saying I can haul about 3 ton of rock in the back of a Yugo.

Tim, you CAN put 3 ton of rock in a Yugo, it just wont look like a Yugo anymore..

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It's almost like saying I can haul about 3 ton of rock in the back of a Yugo.

How many trips will that take?

(Or, how many conductors will you wire in parallel?)

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